First-time treasure hunter makes potentially historic discovery on Oregon coast

Seaside, OR (KPTV) -- A man who was trying out his newly-purchased metal detector on the Oregon coast stumbled upon what might be historical artifact.

Seaside resident Ben Hidy said he was just hoping to find some coins when he ventured out to the dunes to try out his new metal detector.

However, Hidy said he picked up a reading for "solid iron" and started digging.

He and a friend found about 20 feet of wood with metal pieces attached to it buried under the sand.

He and an archaeologist who examined it think the wood could be the keel of an old ship.

Hidy said his research shows the area where he found the wood was once the tide line in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

"I'm still kind of in shock about it, like it really hasn't set in," Hidy said. "There is still a lot more to learn about it. We're gradually learning more every day about it. I really don't know what to think yet. I want to be excited, but cautious. I don't want to get too far into it."

Hidy said the archaeologist who examined the discovery will have more specific information soon, including how old the wood may be.

If it's more than 75 years old, the state will claim it as an historical artifact.